Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Rick Cleveland: schools can still host NCAA tourneys

Yes, the NCAA has passed new legislation that sounds as if it would prevent Mississippi schools from hosting NCAA baseball regionals and first and second round NCAA Women's basketball regionals.

No, the new legislation will not affect who hosts baseball regionals this spring. It doesn't go into effect until the next school year.

The new legislation, passed by the NCAA's Board of Governors, requires that sites hosting or bidding on NCAA events demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is “safe, healthy and free of discrimination.”

The NCAA legislation is an obvious response to laws like the recently passed Mississippi HB 1523, signed by Governor Phil Bryant last month. That law, which goes into effect July 1, allows private businesses, along with government workers, to deny services and goods to the LGBT community (or anyone, really) based on religious beliefs.

Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss all have teams that have won enough to be considered as a regional host this spring. Last week, Mississippi athletic directors were scrambling to learn what the new NCAA legislation actually means.

What they learned is that, beginning the 2016-17 school year, the universities will bear the burden of proof to show that their individual schools will run a discrimination-free, inclusive event.

“We don't anticipate a problem,” said Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin. “That's already how we operate.”

The same is true at Southern Miss and Ole Miss.

Essentially, the NCAA legislation will require more paperwork, which, in effect, says, “Although our state has passed this law, we choose not to enforce it on our campus.”

Mississippi remains the only state where pre-determined NCAA post-season events cannot be played because of the state's flag, which includes the Confederate battle flag. South Carolina escaped the NCAA's “banned” list when it removed the Confederate flag from its Capitol grounds.

And then there was one: us.


On the field, Mississippi teams did what they needed to do to remain in contention to host.

• State defeated Ole Miss in a mid-week game and then took two of three on the road from Alabama.

• Ole Miss took two of three in a weekend series with highly ranked LSU.

• Southern Miss knocked off nationally ranked Louisiana-Lafayette in a mid-week game and then salvaged one of three in a series with highly rated Florida Atlantic Sunday.

According to RPI ratings, which closely approximates the NCAA's, Ole Miss (33-12) entered the week at No. 7, Mississippi State (30-14-1) at No. 11 and Southern Miss (31-14) at No. 19.

State and Ole Miss definitely would host if the regionals were announced today. Both are still in the running for a national seed. USM needs a strong finish and it would certainly help the Golden Eagles if they could win the CUSA regular season title. They currently are tied with Rice, one game ahead of FAU. CUSA, ranked No. 4 (behind the SEC, ACC and Pac-12) in conference RPI, presumably will receive at least one host spot.

Bottom line: All three need to continue to win to earn a chance to play NCAA Tournament baseball at home. At least, they haven't been thrown an un-hittable curve because of HB 1523.

Rick Cleveland is a syndicated columnist and historian at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. His email address is


Anonymous said...

The morons in the legislature won't be guided by reason, but they'll concede to anything if Strickland and Bjork tell them current laws impede post-season prospects of our universities.

Ben Matlock said...

"Essentially, the NCAA legislation will require more paperwork, which, in effect, says, 'Although our state has passed this law, we choose not to enforce it on our campus.'”

And this is why we don't look to sports reporters for legal opinions.

The paperwork will actually say, in effect: "Although our state has passed this law, we choose not to use its protections, notwithstanding the fact that if we chose to use its protections, as a state entity, we could only do so legally if we ensured that an individual could still get the service he/she desired with no delay. But we're talking about attending a sports event, so HB1523 is only relevant in contorted hypothetical situations with no relationship whatsoever to real-life. MYOB & FO."

Anonymous said...

Thank you 9:45 for clearing that up :-)

Anonymous said...

9:45 is spot-on. Rick's legal opinion (colored by his liberal politics) is akin to people presuming that Not Guilty equals Innocent. This is a simple fix for the schools.

Anonymous said...

Just another example of politicians mixing politics and religion with the end being what people predicted but politician really didn't care.

Pastor Freeze Will Hannel This said...

11:59, in your opinion, which is worse: Mixing politics with religion or mixing politics with education or mixing politics with sporting events?

Anonymous said...

1:23, why should politics be mixed with anything else? We have a big enough mess with politics by itself. Mixing in anything is just more fertilizer on the pile.

Anonymous said...

Ben -- You really should consult an attorney who practices in higher ed before offering your opinion. The "ensuring service" provisions of HB 1523 apply only to circuit clerks and judges. They do not apply, for example, to university-employed counselors, physicians, or support staff. These employees could deny service and universities would be under no obligation to provide any accommodation. I agree this likely would be tangentially related to sporting events, but "we choose not to enforce it" --i.e., "we choose not to exercise our legal right to be awful, bigoted people"--is at least as accurate a summary as yours, but more succinct.

Anonymous said...

Why did our leaders waste time on such stuff as this? They should have know better. I can't really blame it on religion as people who would support this crap are not religious people, they are imposters at the best and scum at the worst.

Anonymous said...

I love all the comments on here that are obviously by people that have not bothered to read or understand the law - but still are experts on what the university can or cannot do.

Personally I think the law stunk as a process to come out of the legislature. But there is absolutely nothing in HB1523 that affects any of the universities unless there is proposed to be a marriage ceremony involved and the university chooses not to allow it for personal religious reasons. In that case, the state cannot take 'any discriminatory action against' the person who makes the decision regarding the wedding.

Someone of you experts please give support to your arguments:

@3:24, the counseling etc that you refer to applies to individuals that refuse to provide the counseling in cases of 'provision of treatments, counseling, or surgeries related to sex reassignment or gender identity transitioning" (Section 3 (4) - lines 61 thru 70). I doubt that such action would come into play on any of the university campuses so that does not have any relation to the matter at hand.

@Ben Matlock: Not even an issue regarding paperwork much less the university having to ignore the law. All the statute does relative to governmental bodies or employees is provide that anyone who decides to "establish sex-specific standards or policies concerning employee or student dress or grooming, or concerning access to restrooms, spas, baths, showers, dressing rooms, locker rooms, or other intimate facilities or settings based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction" - the state government will not take any discriminatory action against such person. (Section 3 (6) - lines 89 thru 96.)

All the blather about how this bill allows for discrimination is backward. Let me suggest that you read the bill and understand it before going off half cocked - even though that is the norm for JJ readers. Again, I don't defend its passage, but in actually reading the bill rather than the CL/JFP 'reports' it actually does little or nothing in the real world.

Anonymous said...

I love all the comments on here that are obviously by people that have not bothered to read or understand the law - but still are experts on what the university can or cannot do.

When anyone opens a comment like the above they are full of crapola.

Anonymous said...

7:59 -- Wrong. The limitation you cite is for treatment or counseling by physicians. No such modifier applies to non-physician counselors. They are free to reject any client, seeking any service they provide, based on the three listed religious beliefs.

Since one of the three beliefs is "no sex before marriage," Mississippi universities can no longer fire counselors who refuse to treat people because they had sex before marriage. Which is kind of a problem in a university counseling office.

You've made other errors, but I'll let you follow your own advice, read the bill, and find them. For example, see if you can spot how the dress, grooming, and bathroom provision protects supervisors who violate Title IX.

Find Somebody Else To Do It said...

7:59 - The chapel at MSU is frequently used for marriage ceremonies. Not sure, but I'm willing to bet there are numerous marriages on the campi of all the other universities in the state.

My opinion on this law is this: It's never a bad idea to protect people from the stink-arms of the ACLU or the Federal Justice Department. A day spent holding those people at bay is a day well spent.

Whut Ah Stretch... said...

10:24 - Please cite where in the new law you find a prohibition on job termination in the event of refusal by a school counselor to work with somebody who has had sex.

Using your far-fetched logic, a college admissions officer is now at liberty to refuse admission to girls who masturbated to orgasm in tenth grade.

Please count your fingers and toes so we can figure out your degree of normalcy.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the legal scholars will explain sections 5 and 6 dealing with the right of those who feel their religious beliefs are threatened to seek relief in a court of law. It seems to all read that a judge cannot rule against them.
Does this mean any religious zealot who is easily threatened can sue and if nothing else, come away with " go away" money?
Also, since the bill says that the State can't take action against any religious organization, does this mean that polygamy is now legal in Mississippi or can a mosque enforce Shia law in this state now? It's pretty easy to form a religious organization in this country.
In 70 years I've seen two trans genders. Both were exceptionally well groomed. Neither threatened me in any way. Neither caused me to feel my soul was at risk or that I couldn't go to church or had to stop believing whatever I wanted to believe. That is not true of some self anointed preachers accosting me on the street telling me I'd go to Hell if I don't think like they think.
Perhaps if our legislators stopped going to strip clubs and gay bars they wouldn't have felt the need to pass this stupid bill.

Anonymous said...

And, so we shouldn't worry about the letter the Justice Dept sent to N.C.'s governor ?
Mississippi can survive without federal funding of any kind, right?

Anonymous said...

The drum beats of our next Civil War grow louder. Won't be States vs States this time.

Anonymous said...

Its a shame NCAA officials throw political agendas on college athletics.

Anonymous said...

3:58 -- Again, your example about admissions is wrong. There are eight substantive areas where the three protected beliefs get privileged status. Mercifully, admissions is not one of them.

To answer your question, read (1) The section on physicians and counselors, where you will find that the clause limiting protection to "reassignment," etc. is separated by an "or," after which you will find a general permission to deny "counseling" based on religious beliefs with no such limitation; then (2) the section defining the term "discrimination," which includes termination from employment and much more, then (3) the section stating that a person otherwise qualified to work in a given profession but for their decision to discriminate under this bill (which would disqualify counselors under their profession's ethical rules) will be treated as qualified for employment.

You could not write a more explicit protection of state-employed counselors who don't want to serve LGBT individuals if you tried.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait until that letter comes from the Justice Dept. Then we will see if the people really are religious. For some reason I think they will forget all about their religion.

Anonymous said...

The NCAA legislation is an obvious response to laws like the recently passed Mississippi HB 1523, signed by Governor Phil Bryant last month. That law, which goes into effect July 1, allows private businesses, along with government workers, to deny services and goods to the LGBT community (or anyone, really) based on religious beliefs.

Rick Cleveland--don't believe the law is that broad-- only in context of marriage.

Anonymous said...

@9:54 - please provide one part of the bill that allows private businesses the right to deny services and goods to the LGBT community. It does allow them to not do so in relation to a marriage ceremony. There is no other such provision on the broad scale you state.

I'll wait for your citation from the actual statute - not from a CL article or JFP editorial.

Anonymous said...

Then why does it affect Division II regional sports and not Div I?

Anonymous said...

Noticed a certain sameness in approach between pastured Cleveland's and pastured Salter's columns. They've been kicked to the curb by Corporate Democrats but somehow want to pretend it didn't happen and they've inexplicably remained relevant.

Neither of them are as remotely HOT and SEXY as Anna Wolfe!

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